Tradies National Health Month
August is Tradies National Health Month, focusing on the health of Australia’s Tradies.
Trades make up almost one-third (30%) of Australia’s workforce and findings from Worksafe Australia show they represent over half (58%) of serious claims for workers’ compensation.
The most common are muscular stress injuries from lifting, carrying and moving loads, along with more serious claims of traumatic joint injuries, with shoulders, knees and backs being the most common. These sort of injuries not only cause pain, weakness and inability to work but can have a larger impact on health, fitness and overall wellbeing. Not to mention the financial impact time off work can have on individuals, families and the wider community.
How does physiotherapy play a role in the health of our Tradies?
Physiotherapists provide treatment of muscle and joint injuries;
- When we think of these musculoskeletal injuries, physiotherapists are the obvious choice to seek out for treatment. Physiotherapists have manual skills and knowledge to manage the acute and painful stage of these injuries.
Physiotherapists are rehabilitation specialists;
- Injuries are not ‘fixed’ once the pain has gone, full healing and rehabilitation is not complete until you are strong and return to the previous level of function, work or sport, or even better functioning at a higher level than before. Rehabilitation is a physiotherapy specialty; we can manage an injury from the acute stage with low level movement and muscle activation, to high levels of strength, power, agility and return to full function, work or even the elite sports level.
- Physiotherapists will also guide you on what exercise and work you can continue with well the injured area has appropriate level of support and rest for healing. Trade work can be physically demanding, it is important to keep a level of strength and fitness so when the time is right you can return to work at your previous level without putting other structures at risk. We can work directly with employers and worksites to find appropriate jobs and roles you can do without putting the healing injury or yourself at risk.
Tradies National Health Month is not just about treating injuries, we want to focus the overall health of our Tradies. We hope to improve strength, health and fitness and aim to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
Physiotherapists aim to prevent injuries by;
- Addressing niggles before they become a serious injury. It is important to see a physiotherapist promptly if you feel any ‘niggles’, we can address it quickly with treatment, work out the cause of why it is happening and prevent it progressing to a more serious injury.
- Physiotherapy can help you develop a regular exercise routine, working on strength, mobility and cardiovascular fitness. Keeping active with regular exercise is not only great for your overall health, it prepares you for the physicality of Tradie roles and will help to prevent injuries from happening.
- Physiotherapists are movement specialists; we can assess how your body moves and test for weaknesses and movement faults that may predispose you to injury. We can then develop individualised treatment and exercise programs to address these problems. Back In Motion practices also have exercise gyms and classes you can attend to do these exercises if you don’t have access to a gym or equipment.
- One of the major risk factors Tradies have to injury is the work itself with most injuries occurring when lifting, carrying or moving loads. Physiotherapists can teach appropriate lifting techniques to minimise the risk of injury and develop specific strength programs ensuring you have the strength to perform lifts and movements needed for your job.
- Physiotherapists can also assess workplace Ergonomics and job tasks, providing guidance and changes in aim to reduce load on the body and the overall risk of injury.
If you are keen to take control of your health and fitness and aim to prevent common the injuries Tradies are prone to then visit your local Back In Motion Physiotherapist and get an action plan designed for you, your body and your job. If you are suffering an injury, it may be a workplace injury or not contact your local practice and ensure it is treated and rehabilitated so you can get back to work and function quickly. Back In Motion practices are happy to work with and bill directly to your workplace and insurer, meaning you can focus on your rehabilitation, health and get back functioning and to the things you enjoy.
Written by Lynley Prince, Principal Physiotherapist and Practice Director at Back In Motion Alphington